The 19th annual National Ethanol Conference was one of the best ever, with strong attendance and a program that rocked.
Personally, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen thought the Led Zeppelin 2 concert for the networking reception was the highlight of the conference, but there were lots of other great acts.
“It was a substantive agenda and from start to finish there were really good conversations about issues of real importance,” Dinneen said at the conclusion of the event on Wednesday. “I’m really happy with the content, but just the mood around the room was really phenomenal.”
An address by the EPA official in charge of making the proposed changes in the volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was definitely another highlight of the conference. “He truly is just trying to do the right thing,” Dinneen said about Chris Grundler, EPA Director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality. “I think the world of him. I may not agree with everything he says or does but I know that he’s doing it sincerely.”
Something new at the NEC this year was the membership PAC auction that was held to support the RFA Political Action Committee which started just last year. “We hadn’t had one up until that point,” said Dinneen, who gave a lot of credit to auctioneer Todd Barlow of Kentucky for helping to raise a good amount of dollars for a good cause. “It really is challenging to raise money in this fashion but it was a lot of fun and we’re going to continue to grow this event.”
Among the more entertaining acts of the conference were the traditional Washington Insiders panel and the global ethanol panel. Attendance was more than 1100 at the event in Orlando, more than the past two years, and they are the “right people, people that are truly invested, truly committed, truly looking to build a future for their companies and their communities as well,” said Dinneen.
The RFA’s marching orders in 2014 are simple – Protect the RFS and tell the government #KeepYourWord. Next year the 20th anniversary National Ethanol Conference will be held in Dallas. Interview with Bob Dinneen, RFA at close of NEC14